New kind of 'integrated' recycling facility planned

NEA highlights need to deal with rising amount of waste amid land scarcity

Singapore plans to build a first-of-its-kind recycling facility to deal with the rising amount of waste amid growing land scarcity.

Earlier this month, the authorities called for applications to study the project's feasibility, saying Singapore is expected to produce 12.3 million tonnes of rubbish in 2030, up 57 per cent from last year.

The projections were based on population and economic growth estimates, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

It is partnering the Urban Redevelopment Authority and JTC Corporation in the project.

The amount of waste Singapore generated grew by 69 per cent between 2000 and last year.

"There is a need to rethink how the waste management industry's space usage can be optimised given that land resources are expected to become scarcer," said NEA.

The new plant will stack various recycling activities in a multi-storey building, and may even delve underground, to save land space and prevent noise and smell pollution.

Companies could also share facilities and services such as weighbridges and a vehicle parking depot integrated with cleaning, maintenance and refuelling services for heavy vehicles.

While private firms have set up recycling facilities to process items such as food, plastics and metals, NEA said the new plant is not meant to consolidate all firms at a single location.

The project is slated to come up in a 5ha plot of land in Lim Chu Kang or within the Sarimbun Recycling Park in the area.

In its call for proposals, NEA said the facility should recycle at least 12 tonnes of waste per square metre of land area per year, or meet other targets.

It said the plant's design should also be generic and adaptable enough to be used at other sites, and flexible enough for future expansion.

Mr Juergen Militz of Recycling Partners, whose associated companies sell various technologies and services, said some firms could benefit from economies of scale by being at one location.

"The packaging waste recycling rate for example is very low, so various waste management companies may not be able to build efficient plants if their quantity is insufficient. This kind of aggregation could help in that," he said.